Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dehydrating Onions

What would you do if you could buy a 25 lb bag of onions for $3 dollars?


If you were me, you'd buy it. Even if you didn't have a clue what to do with so many onions.

Onions are amazing for your health. Like garlic, onions are members of the allium family and full of flavonoids and sulfur compounds that help reduce blood pressure, blood clots, cholesterol, inflammation and bone loss, improve lung function and blood vessel strength as well as lower your risk of several cancers, particularly stomach and colon cancer. They can also prevent bacterial infections such as salmonella and E. Coli.

I've been cooking like crazy, using onions in everything I can think of. I canned salsa, pickles and ground beef which all needed onions. I have even made quite a few batches of my mom's secret French Onion Soup. It is delicious!

Alas, I can only eat so much French Onion Soup even though my 11 month old can't seem to get enough.

So, what to do with the rest of the bag?

As long as onions are kept in a cold, dark place, onions would keep all winter. But, unfortunately we have neither a cold, dark storage room in our apartment nor a garage at our disposal so I needed to do something.

I could freeze them. Onions are great to freeze. You don't even have to blanch them first. Just freeze pieces in a single layer, once frozen, throw 'em in a ziplock bag. You just grab some out of the freezer when you want them and pop them into whatever you're cooking.

But, I have zero room in my freezer. So, no go on freezing.

I decided to try dehydrating.  I've done fruit leather in a dehydrator but that's it.  But, I have dehydrated onions in my long-term food storage so I know they can be dehydrated.

I've been so excited to do this post and show you the prettiest way to slice onions.

Grab your onions. It will take about 1 1/2- 2 onions per tray


Cut off both ends and cut in half.

Lay the onion flat side down and cut in half again. This will help you gauge where you will be cutting next. Take your knife and slice on a diagonal from the outside moving in.


Keep slicing all the way to the center, while keeping a firm hold on your onion so your slices don't go flying. (It doesn't matter if they do, it just looks prettier if they don't.)

 Flip the onion around and start slicing from the other side.


Keep slicing 'til you're done



Beautiful huh? So you can stop here if you just need onion slices but for dehydrating it's best to have diced onions so they will dry faster.


Now, take your trays and spread the onions around in a thin layer. Repeat with all trays. I got 10-12 onions on 5 trays.

Tip: Stick your dehydrator outside. Onions smell really bad when they're drying.

Place trays in dehydrator on med-high heat. You don't want the heat too high or it will cook the outside of your onions but leave the inside uncooked and they will spoil when you try to store them. They will take about 10 hours to dry completely.

Onions will lose 90 percent of their weight/ volume. They are done when they have no give whatsoever and give a nice 'snap' when you bend them.


Seal in a ziplock bag or mason jar and store.

Using your dehydrated onions...
  • the conversion of dehydrated onions is about 1/4 of the original amount. So 2 Tbls dried onion = 1/2 cup fresh onion because there are 8 Tbls in 1/2 cup.
  • grab some and throw them in whatever you're cooking and they will rehydrate
  • rehydrate in water in fridge for half hour before cooking in recipe with no added water
  • pulverize into powder and you will have your own onion powder which is usually like 3-5 bucks at the store.
  • mix your onion powder in a 1/3 ratio with salt and voila, instant onion salt



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